In the late 1990’s, a Senator who represented a small portion of Riverside County sold out the taxpayers of California. He received a one time $15 million appropriation for a museum in Riverside County to get his vote on the budget. The taxpayers got stuck with a $20 billion/year increase in spending. That increase led to the collapse of the budget in the early part of the last decade. Some Riverside County elite lauded this Senator. He was, however, as shortsighted as he was irresponsible, and California has paid a price for his shortsightedness for 20 years.
The old joke tells of the guy who approached a woman in a bar, and offered her $100,000.00 to sleep with him. She said ok. He then said how about $10, she responded “what do you think I am?” The man responded, “we have already established what you are, now we’re just negotiating the price.” Of all the things that can be said about Senator Anthony Cannella, as opposed to the colleague with whom I served in the ’90’s, we already know what you are, you just got a higher price. As for Senator Roth and Assemblymember Cervantes, they negotiated like a Hollywood streetwalker.
And now, I and my neighbors will have to pay an additional $200-300/year to the state of California for nothing. No freeways will be built with this money for at least 20 years, the money will continue to be diverted to trains and buses, and roads will continue to be crumble. How do I know this? History. The gas tax was increased by 12 cents in this go-round. In 1990, the gas tax was doubled, and the taxpayers got nothing, NOTHING in return. We will get nothing in return this time, and we were sold down the river by shortsighted, irresponsible legislators. Brown himself guaranteed this by the comments he made when the bill passed. He said he supports trains and parks. Not one word about building freeways. As taxpayers, we keep paying more and more and getting less and less.
The only problem is that I know what I write here will get lost in the ether. 20 years from now, when some left wing nut job Governor (as this state is wont to elect), tells us we are not spending enough on roads and we have pay more taxes to relieve traffic congestion, the warning I gave last Thursday that the tax increase in this bill will not build or fix any freeways will be long gone, the history will be long forgotten, and the lemmings that are the legislators and the voters of this state will follow that Governor to further destruction and decay, to another futile tax increase. Some Republican will sell us out again, some Democrats who claim to be moderates will get a few dollars for some pet projects, and the hardworking people of this state will get soaked again.
So, we’re stuck with this bastard of a bill. Sold out for pennies by shortsighted supplicants to an irresponsible Governor. In some ways, the voters deserve this. The voters put the legislators in place who voted for this monstrosity. Republican legislators are also responsible. Almost all of them voted against the bill, and that is a good thing, but they have failed as a group to work to set out an alternative vision for the voters of the State. It is not enough to sit in their chairs, collect their pay and per diem, and say and do nothing. Watching the parade is no longer an option. They have to disrupt it. They have to fight. The Democrats have to actually fear that they will lose seats, because they think the Republicans will actually put up a fight. We got nothing from this latest tax increase, we will continue to get nothing for the money we pay in the future, and we will continue to decline as a State, both economically and socially, as long as we continue on the path we are on.